Rat Race is what it is. You play as a rat in a three-tier cage from the first-person view. There’s no objectives or fail state. You don’t have to do anything. Yet I spent five minutes running around in a wheel, and two minutes smiling as the rat sipped on some water. I don’t understand why I was so content to just do these little interactions, even though they did, well, nothing. Is it enough to just pretend that I’m a rat?
I really wish that the humans arrived at some point and poked their fat fingers in so I could nibble them. That would have at least been a little exciting. But that’s not to say I was bored, either. Should I have been?
There should be a psychological study into these simulators and why we can enjoy them so much, if there hasn’t been already. I’m pretending to eat food, drink to wash it down, and then giving it a few minutes before pooping, because if I go too soon, it wouldn’t have fully digested properly. I’m thinking about the rat’s digestive system and behaviour, trying to make sure it is accurate to what I’ve seen rats in cages do before. It’s like it matters, as if someone is judging me on how good a rat I can be. Who am I trying to fool?
A little later, I start to drop the act and begin reading the newspaper laid out on the floors of my cage. From what can be made out, it’s a piece about German indie game developers and how they’re so hidden and obscure, but there are efforts to bring them out into the open and share their creations. Did I mention that Rat Race is made by German development duo Rat King (quite appropriately)? Well, it is. They have an interest in finding their native developers, most of whom, they say, hide away in a few forums from time to time.
But that’s not important right now! I’ve got to eat down this food and then run around in my wheel a little. Otherwise, well, there is no otherwise, but it feels wrong if I don’t do that. Anyway, to finish this off so I can get back to my rat life, I believe that Rat Race was created for the Notgames Fest, which makes sense and would explain why Rat King decided to make a rat simulator.